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  • Context (TOI): Maharastra Pench Tiger Reserve reports the first photographic record of the forest eagle owl, also known as the spot-bellied eagle owl.

Forest Eagle Owl - PMF IAS

Credits: Wikipedia

  • Earlier, one pair was sighted in the Mansinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary Pench Maharashtra.
  • These nocturnal birds have also been reported from Madhya Pradesh Pench and Kanha Tiger Reserve.
  • This species is considered part of a superspecies with the barred eagle owl, which looks quite similar but is allopatric in distribution.

Madhya Pradesh Pench and Kanha Tiger Reserve - PMF IAS

  • A Superspecies is an informal rank for a species complex around one “representative” species. Species forming a superspecies must have allopatric distributions.
  • Allopatric speciation is a mode of speciation that occurs when biological populations become geographically isolated from each other to an extent that prevents or interferes with gene flow.
  • Appearance: Greyish-brown bird with dark, coarse brown colouration over the back and upper wings.
  • Distribution: Himalayan foothills and the Western Ghats.
  • Habitat: Dense evergreen and moist deciduous forests, usually near water, in wet temperate and riparian forests. Also hunts in scrub, bamboo jungle, thin deciduous forest, and near edges of clearings.
  • Unique calls: Low-frequency calls for various purposes, including communication, territorial defence, and attracting mates. Low-frequency calls enable them to communicate further across long distances through dense vegetation. They also utter a mournful, mewing scream.
  • Raven Pro software is used to calculate the frequency of animal calls.
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